For the memory of an uncle she never knew

Posted on May 2, 2013 by


GoodHenryPIt’s a major reason why I’m headed to Chancellorsville in just under six hours.

I can list all my relatives in the 10th Virginia, the 33rd Virginia, and the Purcell Artillery who were there, fighting, on May 3, 1863.

I can also list my relatives in the 7th West Virginia Infantry who were there, fighting, on May 3, 1863.

But, there is one relative that has been particularly on my mind this week.

I heard about him when I was a boy. My great-grandmother spoke of him, but never knew him. In fact, she was born sixteen years after he died.

Her memories were simple… basic. There was no glory for the young man. No talk of flags and cause. He was only sixteen when he enlisted. They tried to talk him out of it, but he was moved by a band playing down by the river. Henry Philip Good enlisted in December, 1861, as a private in Co. K (Page Volunteers), of the 10th Virginia Infantry.

She remembered also that he was killed at Manassas.

Actually, after he had volunteered in Page County, he was enrolled in the ranks of the 10th Virginia at Manassas. He was killed not at Manassas, but at Chancellorsville, on May 3, 1863, probably in the fighting at or near Hazel Grove.

So, for the first part of the commemorative events tomorrow… for the Sunrise at Hazel Grove and Fairview walking tour, I’ll be thinking of the uncle who my great-grandmother never knew… but remembered in story she told me… when she was well into her 90s.

No glory, no praise for a cause, no talk of battle flags… just a sad story of a boy with stars in his eyes who was taken far too young.

Tomorrow morning, I take that memory that my great-grandmother shared with me, to the field on which he died.

My great-grandmother, Flora Esther Good Hilliard, in the 1960s.

My great-grandmother, Flora Esther Good Hilliard, in the 1960s.